As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.
Leading the way: Joe Pavelski
Pavelski is the only player League-wide with 70-plus points, a plus-10 or better, 30-plus power-play points and 200-plus shots on goal in each of the past two seasons. Even as his shooting percentage dipped from 2013-14 (18.2) to 2014-15 (14.2) and the San Jose Sharks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, his fantasy stock didn't waver. His versatility is well-documented with experience at each of the three forward positions and in all situations. If he falls to the third round of a fantasy draft, he should be your priority.
SHARKS' FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS
Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the San Jose Sharks organization. These players have been arranged by NHL.com's fantasy staff based on projected value and by position. These players range from top-tier assets to deep sleepers and should be on your radar in standard Yahoo leagues.
Brent Burns (D/RW eligible in Yahoo)
* Red indicates newcomer to team
Undervalued: Joe Thornton
Thornton was drafted on average with the 69th pick in Yahoo last season and finished 95th in its year-end rankings. His stock is low after posting his first minus campaign since 2000-01 in response to him being stripped of the Sharks' captaincy. He also hasn't had a 30-goal season since 2002-03 or a 200-SOG season since 2006-07. But once you reach rounds 8-10 of a fantasy draft, you're not going to find a more consistent distributor than Thornton. He led the Sharks in shot attempts relative (9.6) last season and finished with 49 assists (T-7th in NHL) and 65 points in a down season. He's another year older (36) and only carries center eligibility, but gets a fresh start under new coach Peter DeBoer and could easily bounce back to finish among the top 50 fantasy assets.
Overvalued: Tomas Hertl
Is Hertl a potential late-round steal with fantasy upside? Absolutely. But the fact he failed to hold a spot on either of the first two lines last season despite staying healthy for 82 games should be viewed as a major step back. His shooting percentage (15.3 to 9.0) and SOG per game (2.65 to 1.77) average dipped significantly from his 37-game rookie joyride to his sophomore slump, and there are no guarantees with a new coach in town. With the addition of Joel Ward, it may be even tougher for Hertl to land a top-six spot in 2015-16. Hertl's name value makes him appealing to most fantasy owners after round 10, but the 21-year-old is not worth taking before the 15th round in my opinion.
Deep sleeper: Melker Karlsson
Karlsson, recalled by the Sharks in December 2014, stuck with the club the rest of the way and finished tied for 81st in the League (eighth among rookies) in goals per 60 minutes (.95). He spent the majority of his even-strength ice time on Pavelski and Thornton's line in the second half and could gain more consistency in that spot with 53 games under his belt. Time will tell as we get closer to training camp, but using a late-round pick on this 25-year-old could pay sizable dividends. If Thornton sees the aforementioned rebound, a chunk of those assists could set up Karlsson.
Goalie outlook: Martin Jones and Alex Stalock
The Sharks traded Antti Niemi's rights before acquiring Martin Jones, whom they expect to contend for their starting job. Stalock, like Jones, had trouble earning time last season (22 games, 8-9-2, 2.62, .902) despite the Sharks missing the postseason and Niemi being a pending unrestricted free agent. With training camp on the horizon under a new coach, the momentum is with the younger Jones, 25, who had outstanding peripheral numbers (1.99 GAA, .923 SV% in 34 games) over two seasons as Jonathan Quick's backup. San Jose's defense is not nearly as strong as the Los Angeles Kings' and Jones lacks a substantial sample size, but still target Jones as the second or third goalie on your fantasy roster once components of respectable tandems (i.e. Andrew Hammond/Craig Anderson, Niemi/Kari Lehtonen, Petr Mrazek/Jimmy Howard) start going off the board.